Talal Asad

Talal Asad photo faculty

Research Interests

  • Religion and secularism, Islamic traditions, political theories
  • Middle East


  • D.Phil., Oxford University

At the Graduate Center since 1998, Talal Asad is a sociocultural anthropologist of international stature specializing in the anthropology of religion with a special interest in the Middle East and Islam. He earned his M.A. at Edinburgh University and B.Litt. and D.Phil. at Oxford. Before coming to the United States to teach at the New School, he taught at Oxford and the universities of Khartoum, Sudan, and Hull, England. He was a member of the New School graduate faculty from 1989 to 1995, then joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University. In the spring of 1979, he served as visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Asad specializes in studies of the Sudan, Arabs, and nomadism. Among other books, he is the author of On Suicide Bombing (The Wellek Library Lectures) (2007); Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Cultural Memory in the Present) (2003); and Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (1993). Asad has also edited or contributed to numerous volumes and has published in a wide variety of international journals. His works have been translated into many languages. The recipient of many awards and honors, Asad has served on the Economic and Social Research Council in England and the Social Science Research Council in the United States.